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Who doesn’t wish for a do over from something in their past, particularly if it involves the one who got away?

Today I’m sharing a snippet from Open With Care, which includes offbeat and heartwarming, “Up on the House Top, and the evocative and haunting, ”Riding for Christmas.”

Up on the House Top:

Will her visit be ho, ho, ho? Or oh no, no, no?

Gini knew Christmas in Wyoming would be challenging as she headed over the frozen crick and through the woods to the family cabin. The lights are going out in her mom’s attic, the guy who broke her heart is on the porch…and there are aliens on the roof.

According to her mom, it’s going to be the best Christmas ever.

Riding For Christmas:

A mesmerizing tale of interstellar time travel and romance!

Jane MacKenzie, visiting her grandfather’s abandoned ranch, discovers something in the snow. When she opens the ribbon-wrapped box, it mysteriously returns Sam Harrington, who “disappeared” in an 1885 blizzard.

There’s nothing alien in this enduring tale of holiday homecomings and the hope of love that lasts a lifetime.

From “Up on the House Top:”

Gini pulled in close to the porch with a sigh of relief she didn’t bother to hide—since she was pretty sure her passengers wouldn’t notice or care. Of course, relief at not ending up in a snowbank was tempered with unease about what came next. The cabin was lit up like Christmas was coming. It always was lit up, since no one bothered to take the lights down. At least Christmas really was coming this time. And it was a good thing mom had left the lights on, because through the last few bends in the road, that had been the beacon she followed. If this wasn’t a full-on blizzard, it was the first cousin to one. She gripped the wheel for a couple of seconds, but she had no idea what to tell the kids. She could sort of remember being thirteen, but nine seemed light years away. What grade in school was he in? Third? Fourth? She didn’t dare ask because it all depended on when he’d started—

“I need the password to the WiFi,” Daphne said.

Gini should have seen that one coming. “I’ll try to get that for you.” The good news, there was WiFi, though someone—someone probably named Gini—would need to sweep the snow off the dish. Which wouldn’t happen tonight. No point when it was still coming down. The bad news, her mom liked to change the password just before incoming visitors arrived. She’d write the new one down on something random and put it in a ‘safe’ place that could be almost anywhere in the cabin. Or back in the house in town. And just to make matters more interesting, she had little scraps of paper with code looking words written on them that she kept inside the cover of her tablet. Sometimes she hid the new password in there, which meant someone had to go through the scraps every time. Gini never could tell if it was innocent-crazy or her mom yanking their chains.

She saw Daphne make a face at her and decided to let her sort through the scraps this time. It would be good for her character.

Gini pushed open the driver’s door and stepped out into blowing snow and a chill that cut through her Texas coat like it was a puff of smoke. At least it wasn’t as cold as it could be, since it was snowing, but her blood had thinned in warmer climes, so it felt cold enough—as she told the lady at the rental desk earlier when asked about it. And the lady who had sold them bottles of soda and water. And every person they met heading out of the airport. Cue so many eye rolls from Daphne she looked like a zombie.

She pulled open Isaac’s car door in time to see him tuck a notebook and his electronic tablet into his backpack. His gaze was a bit too bland as it met hers. She knew that look, or remembered it, but what could he be plotting up here in the snowy middle of not much?

“I’ll get your suitcase out,” she said and waded through calf deep snow to the rear of the SUV. Up on the spacious porch, the front door opened, spilling a hopeful shaft of light onto the white drift piled up there. The figure in the square of light wasn’t her mother, who had gotten steadily smaller with each passing year and rolled in a wheelchair these days. Did she see the broad shoulders of a guy—

“Gini?” The voice was man-deep and twanged a chord of memory she’d thought she buried too deep to twang.

It couldn’t be the boy next door, her best friend besides Van, her first love who’d left without looking back—

He strode forward, the porch light briefly falling around him like a spotlight.

Dexter James Tolliver. In the flesh.

Her head tipped to one side. In the much-better-than she remembered flesh. And wearing the uniform of the local sheriff. Her thoughts did a kind of spin, but considering she had a Thing—a Thing that was kind of a marriage proposal that she wasn’t thinking about—pending at home, the hallelujah chorus seemed inappropriate.

* * * * *

Open “Open with Care” now! Because it’s never too late for the right gift!

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